Are You Ready for Workforce 2020?

Are you ready for Workforce 2020? More important, are your clients ready?

According to a number of sources, including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Hudson Institute’s study, “Workforce 2020,” and AARP’s report, Leading a Multi-Generational Workforce (PDF), the global workforce will change dramatically in the next eight years, and with the changes come enormous  opportunities for the staffing industry and significant challenges for our clients. Here are just a few facts that should get everyone thinking about how to effectively manage the changing face of work:

  • By 2020, approximately 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is expected to be comprised of contract workers.
  • For the first time in history, the global workforce will include five generations of workers: Traditionalists (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1965), Generation X (born between 1966 and 1980), Millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) and Generation 2020. Each of these groups has different skill sets, degrees of technological know-how and approaches to work — for example, the Generation 2020 group will be extremely  tech-savvy and believe that work should be fun.
  • One in three U.S. workers will be 50 years or older.
  • There are expected to be more than 77 million women workers in the US, up from 57 million in 1990.
  • Globally, the number of workers in Germany, Italy and Spain will decline, while worker populations in Brazil, Russia, India and China will grow as more companies establish headquarters in those countries. East Asian companies will see their workforce shrink as they face an aging population.
  • The supply of critical skills in engineering, math and science will continue to dwindle; three of every four open positions in 2020 will require a higher skill level than today.

As companies adjust their business strategies to manage the changing workforce, they’ll look to their staffing partners for guidance and solutions. Together, we’ll need to identify innovative ways of deploying and managing the most diverse group of workers in history while at the same time coping with an expected shortage of critical skills.

As we bravely sail toward 2020, here is the question every company should be addressing:

Do we have the right people, with the right skills, appropriately deployed, at the right cost to most effectively support our business — now and for the future?

As you think about the answer, here are a few tips to guide the way:

  • Be unconventional. We’ve never managed  a workforce like the 2020 group – old ways of doing things won’t cut it. Thinking out of the box will become the new norm.
  • Expand your definition of collaboration. Evolving cloud technology and social media will make it easier than ever for anyone to work from anywhere, anytime.
  • Be strategic. Identify core vs. non-core positions that can be filled through a strategic partner.
  • Prepare for the next group of workers. Begin attracting the workforce of tomorrow by partnering with middle and high schools today.
  • Train for tomorrow. Create an environment of learning for employees to gain the skills they need to help the company meet its short- and long-term goals.
  • Be flexible. Offer flexible working arrangements to retain top talent – by 2020, 50 million workers will work part-time from their home.
  • Focus on social responsibility. Employees, especially Generation 2020 workers, want their company to do good in the communities where they operate.
  • Embrace technology. Build social media into your business strategies, not just for recruiting efforts but for training, education, marketing, communications and business development programs.

Clearly, there are many issues to consider. But one thing seems certain: The companies that adjust their business strategies now to cope with the workforce of 2020 will position themselves best to win in 2020 and beyond.

Donna Carroll

Donna Carroll
Donna Carroll is president of TrueBridge Resources. She can be reached at Donna.Carroll (at) truebridgeresources (dot) com.

Donna Carroll

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3 Responses to “Are You Ready for Workforce 2020?”

  1. […] Hudson Institute’s study Workforce 2020, lack of robots notwithstanding, so let’s get started. Staffing Stream has a great article by Donna Carroll that breaks down several and very aptly pulls together three reports: “Workforce 2020,” and […]

  2. […] Institute’s study Workforce 2020, lack of robots notwithstanding, so let’s get started. Staffing Stream has a great article by Donna Carroll that breaks down several and very aptly pulls together three reports: “Workforce 2020,” and […]

  3. There’s no doubt companies will increasingly use contract workers inline with other trends to outsource and on-demand consumption, but I think there’s an assumption that the staffing industry structure will remain as-is. Since the projections are for 2020, you might also want to factor in what might happen if labor/employment laws change which could have implications on how companies hire contractors.

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